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I am no electrical wizard but I am a well-trained molecular biologist who took a bad turn one day and found dealing with people far more interesting than test tubes. One thing I learnt as a student is that when you are trying to observe the effect of a very large number of factors with complex interactions (like the quality of musical reproduction), trying to measure each factor and put the interactions into equations is worthless. Any biologist will tell you that you’re better off looking for a modeled reproduction of the observed reality and assess that model based on its ability to predict reality until such time that knowledge of the fundamental elements has progressed enough to replace parts of the model with an actual understanding of some of the moving parts.

I look at the MDI theory no differently. It may or may not be a representation of what actually happens at an atomic level but its predictive power has so far been excellent and can thus help designers progress in their understanding of what it takes to make better sound.

What do I mean by predictive power? This theory for example explains why silver, copper or gold sound different as a combination of their crystalline qualities at the interface with the insulation and the qualities of their oxidized states (silver oxide conducts electricity whereas copper oxide does not). The same theory explains why poorly implemented silver cables have such a bad rep for dryness and lack of bass and body when well implemented silver cables usually take the palm for naturalness. It also predicts ways to improve cables and electronics to reduce what many describe as the hifi glare or improve the feeling that one is listening to live music instead of a canned recording. Related methods have found their way into not only Ocellia's gear but also Euphya's (as reviewed by Paul Candy a few years back) and Lavardin's (although in a slightly different form). These components all seem to share common ground when it comes to flow and tonal richness, elements which I will get back to when talking about the Ocellia cables in more depth.

The theory also explains why solid-state gear is susceptible to vibrations (MDIs are influenced by mechanical factors) and why temperature and humidity can have such a radical impact on sound quality. MDIs can also explain some of the observations related to static loading of speaker membranes or CDs and why demagnetization of such moving elements can be heard as an improvement at least temporarily.

The MDI theory also explains things that should work but don't. Because of their nature and the nature of the associated electrostatic wave, usual shielding technics not only have little to no effect on MDIs but more often than not either amplify the phenomenon or at least ensure the MDIs are contained within the conductor where the signal is present, therefore increasing their effect. If you look online you can find many comments that a certain heavily shielded cable sounded shrill or stifled dynamics while another sounded alive and real. Depending on the nature of the shielding and its implementation (grounded or not, type of grounding etc) MDIs can account for a lot of those differences.

I am not here to defend the theory or claim it solves all unanswered audio riddles. I will actually be first to admit that almost 20 years after the concepts were first coined I expected that more hard evidence since would have developed in their support. In their absence I have to go by what I can observe when listening to products which were developed according to what MDI theory suggests should sound better. That's what I did with the Ocellia cables.

As indicated previously, these Ocellia Reference cables are a significant upgrade to the Silver version Srajan reviewed. The basic construction of 99.99% pure silver wire shrouded in paper with a flexible natural rubber/mineral sheath around it all assembled by hand and in house remains. What changed is the orientation of the silver conductor, the thicker paper wrapping, the composition of the external sheath and the upgraded RCA plugs to a Japanese model with a central silver pin. According to Samuel these changes made sufficient improvements to warrant an entirely new model designation aka Reference. Since I didn't have the standard Silver model I can't comment on a comparison but one thing I can say for sure. These Ocellias are by far the best built cables I have in house - far better than the ASI Livelines (not even close), better than the Genesis that cost significantly more and on par with the Zu Varial and Esoteric balanced interconnects I reviewed a few years back which cost close to five grand. You can see and feel Samuel Furon's obsession with detail and perfection in every one of those cables. I doubt he lets anything leave his warehouse that’s not absolutely perfect.

When receiving various cables from one brand, I always try to proceed in the same fashion. I replace all cables of one type first—all power cords for example—and assess that impact. I keep replacing my references with the new cables until they are all in. Then I finally remove them all and get back to my reference setup in one step to get a feel for any synergistic effect. That's exactly how I proceeded with the Ocellias starting with their newest power cords. Those replaced a Genesis Absolute Fidelity on the First Watt F5 amp and ASI Livelines on the Burson HA160D preamp and Esoteric E03 phono stage.